Zabriskie Point


1h 52m 1970
Zabriskie Point

Brief Synopsis

A young girl helps a student radical escape the police.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Adventure
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Feb 1970
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.; Trianon Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Mark, a student at a Los Angeles university, attends a meeting of radicals but leaves when he decides that they plan to take no action against political repression. He buys a revolver and goes to the campus where police are attempting to oust students from an occupied building, but he misses the chance to shoot a policeman when another bullet strikes the man first. Fleeing from the scene, Mark steals a small airplane from a private airport and flies east. From his plane, he sees a young woman, Daria, driving across the desert toward Phoenix; Mark flies over her car until she becomes amused by his attention and stops to wait for him to land. Leaving the plane behind, the two drive in her car until they reach Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, where Daria smokes marijuana, and they make love in the sand dunes. Later, at a roadside comfort station, Daria is questioned by a highway patrolman; unnoticed, Mark draws his gun, but Daria stands in front of the policeman. After the policeman leaves, Mark realizes that he must leave Daria and return to Los Angeles. He finds the plane and flies back to the airport, where he is killed by the waiting police. Daria drives on toward Phoenix and hears the news of Mark's death on the car radio. She reaches the plush office of her employer, Lee Allen, who is negotiating to build a modern community in the desert. Suddenly repulsed by crass materialism, Daria departs, fantasizing about the destruction of the building and all it represents.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Adventure
Release Date
Jan 1970
Premiere Information
New York opening: 9 Feb 1970
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.; Trianon Productions
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Zabriskie Point -


The biggest and arguably most controversial film of the Vietnam Era counterculture movement was this MGM production from director Michelangelo Antonioni, the second of an intended three-picture deal following his enigmatic 1966 smash, Blowup. A darling of the arthouse community and international critics, Antonioni had turned ennui into a beautiful art form with his holy trinity of Italian all-star monochrome classics - L'avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), and L'eclisse (1962) - as well as his innovative Red Desert (1964), but the move to Hollywood turned out to be a match made in hell for many of those involved.

Riding high on the youth culture smashes 2001: A Space Odyssey and Yellow Submarine, MGM thought it had another major mind-bending cinematic trip on its hands with this film; however, Antonioni's increasingly leftist politics and disdains for corporate American attitudes would turn out to be a wedge between this film and its intended public when it opened in 1970. In fact, the studio was banking on this film and two others that same year, The Strawberry Statement and The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart, to bring in hordes of viewers by cashing in on recent campus unrest and political discord among the young, but all of them remain fascinating curiosities rather than Easy Rider-style smashes.

Antonioni's Zabriskie Point takes its title from the real-life location in Death Valley, where a massive simulated orgy (largely comprised of members of the experimental The Open Theater troupe) serves as the culmination of a trek through the American Southwest by its two main characters, Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin (playing characters named after themselves). After a campus riot leads to the death of a police officer, Mark steals a plane and flies to the desert with Daria, where their consciousness is expanded and Daria experiences a climactic vision of American commercialism being blown to bits.

Neither of the stars were experienced actors at the time (in fact, frequent MGM player, Rod Taylor, was the most established name in the film), but they both become fleeting pop culture symbols of the free love movement when they fell in love in real life and temporarily moved to the experimental Fort Hill Community (later determined to be a cult) run by Mel Lyman. Three of its members, including Frechette, would go on to commit a bank robbery in 1973 (though Frechette's gun had no bullets), which led to the actor's arrest. He would die in prison ostensibly during a weightlifting accident in 1975. Though neither of the stars would pursue much of an acting career beyond a couple of additional films, Halprin fared better by co-founding an institute focused on the healing power of the performing arts. She was also married to Dennis Hopper for four years (they tied the knot in 1972), resulting in one daughter.

In an oft-repeated anecdote, the frequently-arrested Frechette was first discovered at a bus stop during a verbal confrontation with another man leaning out of the third floor of an apartment building. Antonioni's casting director, Sally Dennison, witnessed the fight and recommended him to the director, noting, "He's twenty, and he hates."

However, the pair's lack of acting experience and volatile lifestyles would prove to be the last of the film's problems. Antonioni's political views attracted the interest of the FBI, who prodded members of the production throughout the shoot. Oakland authorities accused the filmmaker of attempting to stage a real riot for that pivotal early scene, and state officials in Sacramento were poised to press charges for "immoral conduct, prostitution or debauchery" if the orgy scene was carried over state lines. (It wasn't.)

Just as turbulent as the filming itself was the creation of the film's soundtrack, which included participation from artists including Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia (with The Doors approached as well, but their one submission was rejected). Pink Floyd ended up providing the lion's share of the score (the propulsive "Heart Beat, Pig Meat" is a particular highlight), with one of Garcia's many compositions for the Death Valley orgy ending up in the final cut. The film's expanded soundtrack release is a fascinating snapshot of the film's sonic evolution, featuring an avalanche of unused demos and alternate material that demonstrates how much the film's approach shifted during the postproduction process.

An unmitigated failure with audiences and critics when it opened, Zabriskie Point has seen its reputation improve considerably since its release with many admirers cultivated through repertory screenings and home video (as well as the popularity of its soundtrack). Antonioni would never work in Hollywood again, but his career rebounded with a string of notable films including the masterful The Passenger (1975), and Italian-language productions including Identification of a Woman (1982).

In sharp contrast to the studio-mandated PR behavior of stars today, neither of the leads were very supportive of the film and in fact led the way for much of its public criticism. "There are parts of it I like quite a bit," Frechette said during an excruciatingly awkward interview on The Dick Cavett Show with Halerpin and Mel Brooks, "but there's a lot in it that I was disappointed it. There was a lot that was attempted that wasn't achieved." He added about his director, "This was a hard part because he's a very distant man," while Halprin countered, "I felt very close to him, but that didn't come through in the film." Seen today, what does come through in the film will largely be up to the viewer's own interpretation and willingness to submit to a transitional film from one of the world's great cinematic voices.

Producer: Carlo Ponti and Harrison Starr
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Screenplay: Michelangelo Antonioni, Franco Rossetti, Sam Shepard, Tonino Guerra, Clare Peploe
Cinematography: Alfio Contini
Film Editing: Franco Arcalli
Music: Jerry Garcia and Pink Floyd
Cast: Mark Frechette, Daria Harlprin, Paul Fix, G.D. Spardlin, Kathleen Cleaver, Rod Taylor.

by Nathaniel Thompson
Zabriskie Point -

Zabriskie Point -

The biggest and arguably most controversial film of the Vietnam Era counterculture movement was this MGM production from director Michelangelo Antonioni, the second of an intended three-picture deal following his enigmatic 1966 smash, Blowup. A darling of the arthouse community and international critics, Antonioni had turned ennui into a beautiful art form with his holy trinity of Italian all-star monochrome classics - L'avventura (1960), La Notte (1961), and L'eclisse (1962) - as well as his innovative Red Desert (1964), but the move to Hollywood turned out to be a match made in hell for many of those involved. Riding high on the youth culture smashes 2001: A Space Odyssey and Yellow Submarine, MGM thought it had another major mind-bending cinematic trip on its hands with this film; however, Antonioni's increasingly leftist politics and disdains for corporate American attitudes would turn out to be a wedge between this film and its intended public when it opened in 1970. In fact, the studio was banking on this film and two others that same year, The Strawberry Statement and The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart, to bring in hordes of viewers by cashing in on recent campus unrest and political discord among the young, but all of them remain fascinating curiosities rather than Easy Rider-style smashes. Antonioni's Zabriskie Point takes its title from the real-life location in Death Valley, where a massive simulated orgy (largely comprised of members of the experimental The Open Theater troupe) serves as the culmination of a trek through the American Southwest by its two main characters, Mark Frechette and Daria Halprin (playing characters named after themselves). After a campus riot leads to the death of a police officer, Mark steals a plane and flies to the desert with Daria, where their consciousness is expanded and Daria experiences a climactic vision of American commercialism being blown to bits. Neither of the stars were experienced actors at the time (in fact, frequent MGM player, Rod Taylor, was the most established name in the film), but they both become fleeting pop culture symbols of the free love movement when they fell in love in real life and temporarily moved to the experimental Fort Hill Community (later determined to be a cult) run by Mel Lyman. Three of its members, including Frechette, would go on to commit a bank robbery in 1973 (though Frechette's gun had no bullets), which led to the actor's arrest. He would die in prison ostensibly during a weightlifting accident in 1975. Though neither of the stars would pursue much of an acting career beyond a couple of additional films, Halprin fared better by co-founding an institute focused on the healing power of the performing arts. She was also married to Dennis Hopper for four years (they tied the knot in 1972), resulting in one daughter. In an oft-repeated anecdote, the frequently-arrested Frechette was first discovered at a bus stop during a verbal confrontation with another man leaning out of the third floor of an apartment building. Antonioni's casting director, Sally Dennison, witnessed the fight and recommended him to the director, noting, "He's twenty, and he hates." However, the pair's lack of acting experience and volatile lifestyles would prove to be the last of the film's problems. Antonioni's political views attracted the interest of the FBI, who prodded members of the production throughout the shoot. Oakland authorities accused the filmmaker of attempting to stage a real riot for that pivotal early scene, and state officials in Sacramento were poised to press charges for "immoral conduct, prostitution or debauchery" if the orgy scene was carried over state lines. (It wasn't.) Just as turbulent as the filming itself was the creation of the film's soundtrack, which included participation from artists including Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia (with The Doors approached as well, but their one submission was rejected). Pink Floyd ended up providing the lion's share of the score (the propulsive "Heart Beat, Pig Meat" is a particular highlight), with one of Garcia's many compositions for the Death Valley orgy ending up in the final cut. The film's expanded soundtrack release is a fascinating snapshot of the film's sonic evolution, featuring an avalanche of unused demos and alternate material that demonstrates how much the film's approach shifted during the postproduction process. An unmitigated failure with audiences and critics when it opened, Zabriskie Point has seen its reputation improve considerably since its release with many admirers cultivated through repertory screenings and home video (as well as the popularity of its soundtrack). Antonioni would never work in Hollywood again, but his career rebounded with a string of notable films including the masterful The Passenger (1975), and Italian-language productions including Identification of a Woman (1982). In sharp contrast to the studio-mandated PR behavior of stars today, neither of the leads were very supportive of the film and in fact led the way for much of its public criticism. "There are parts of it I like quite a bit," Frechette said during an excruciatingly awkward interview on The Dick Cavett Show with Halerpin and Mel Brooks, "but there's a lot in it that I was disappointed it. There was a lot that was attempted that wasn't achieved." He added about his director, "This was a hard part because he's a very distant man," while Halprin countered, "I felt very close to him, but that didn't come through in the film." Seen today, what does come through in the film will largely be up to the viewer's own interpretation and willingness to submit to a transitional film from one of the world's great cinematic voices. Producer: Carlo Ponti and Harrison Starr Director: Michelangelo Antonioni Screenplay: Michelangelo Antonioni, Franco Rossetti, Sam Shepard, Tonino Guerra, Clare Peploe Cinematography: Alfio Contini Film Editing: Franco Arcalli Music: Jerry Garcia and Pink Floyd Cast: Mark Frechette, Daria Harlprin, Paul Fix, G.D. Spardlin, Kathleen Cleaver, Rod Taylor. by Nathaniel Thompson

Zabriskie Point - Michelangelo Antonioni's ZABRISKIE POINT on DVD


Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 Blowup is an unprecedented American art house thriller that became a surprise mainstream success, grossing over six million dollars. That kind of business elevated the status of a number of European filmmakers, securing big co-production deals for, among others, Federico Fellini. For a brief time, being an Italian master of alienation amid bleak landscapes was a definite asset; if the result brought in audiences, MGM would let Michelangelo film whatever he wanted.

Antonioni chose to film his next opus in the United States, at that time the focus of much intellectual and political criticism from the continent. Encouraged by the status conferred upon profitable pictures like Easy Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey, MGM green-lit Zabriskie Point, a counterculture saga about alienated youth and free love in an America seen as ripe for revolution.

Zabriskie Point imposes a foreign artist's leftist political interpretations on a stylized American landscape. The beautiful but alienated leading actors are little more than placeholders for disaffected youth. Antonioni's aides reportedly found the male lead Mark Frechette standing on a Boston street corner shouting "motherf*cker". The quote offered by the promoters: "he's twenty and he hates".*

The story of Zabriskie Point is a pretentious trifle. During a period of college unrest, student Mark (Mark Frechette) quits a Marxist planning session (dominated by political firebrand Kathleen Cleaver) and is arrested for hassling policemen booking student demonstrators. He and an associate buy a pair of handguns and return to campus. They may or may not be responsible for the shooting of a riot cop back on campus. The sequence is filmed in such a way that we can't tell who shoots whom. Mark makes his way to an airport, steals a single-engine airplane, and heads eastward to the desert.

In a Wilshire Blvd. office building, free spirit Daria (Daria Halprin) meets executive Lee Allen, a land developer working on an Arizona resort for the wealthy. Daria apparently agrees to accompany Lee to his mountaintop desert house, but instead drives there on her own in a borrowed car. After meeting some grizzled oldsters in a desert café and tangling with some near-feral desert kids, Daria is spotted by Mark from the air. He buzzes her car several times before landing. They don't speak much. She drives him to fetch more aviation fuel, but they instead end up at Zabriskie Point, a scenic lookout at the far end of Death Valley. Their lovemaking in the alkali dust becomes a hallucinatory orgy, with scores of couples engaging in various sex acts all around them.

Zabriskie Point's tagline is the now embarrassing "far out" phrase, "How you get there ... depends on where you're at". Antonioni is uninterested in fashioning an emotional reality for Mark and Daria, who are never more than what they are, two attractive kids going through the motions. The director's efforts are instead invested in the film's visual surface, as with his highly artificial, thematically interesting Red Desert. The dramatic scenes are flat and uninteresting; Rod Taylor and his developer cronies are mere stick figures against a sterile corporate backdrop.

Antonioni has a field day making Los Angeles look like a portal to Hell lined with ugly billboards. Lee drives to offices that appear to be at the intersection of Wilshire and Western, somehow avoiding every view that doesn't feature advertising displays. Mark and his fellow triggerman live in a depressed neighborhood, and run red lights in an old pickup truck. Neither the real student demonstration footage nor the staged violence makes much of an impact. The rancor in the 'revolutionary strategy meeting' (scored with Pink Floyd's "Heartbeat Pigmeat") is 100% accurate to this reviewer's college experience, with furious, incoherent rhetoric thrown about by zealots incapable of listening to one another.

Zabriskie Point finds its power out in the desert, which represents Antonioni's vision of America as a moral wasteland. Daria seems thrilled to be the object of Mark's foreplay, buzzing his stolen plane only a couple of feet above her head. The aerial work in the movie is technically perfect, creating a North by NorthWest "meeting cute" as the modern plane zooms over the prehistoric desert floor.

Death Valley, the lowest point in the United States, is more than a little symbolic. The amorous hippies in the spaced-out mass sex scene staged there look like prehistoric animals spawning at the dawn of creation. The film was always "R" rated but more than one orgy cutaway strongly implies hardcore activity. As for Mark and Daria, they gambol nude in the dust but don't appear to be engaging in actual sex.

When existential idyll is finished Antonioni hurries back to his main theme: America is Evil. The lovers paint psychedelic patterns on the stolen plane, which Mark flies to a fateful reunion with the "pigs" back in the smoggy city. Daria drives on to her Arizona rendezvous with Lee Allen, at a lavish designer house built into a rocky Arizona hillside, sort of a space age Navajo cliff dwelling. Daria tours the spotless interior, avoiding the soulless executives and their designer women.

When she realizes what has happened to Mark, Daria and the movie indulge a subjective fantasy of destruction. To Pink Floyd's apocalyptic track "Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up", we watch for several minutes as the cliff house explodes into a million pieces, a staggering blast repeated from numerous angles and in slow motion. The screen then treats us to several minutes of decadent consumer goods -- furniture, kitchen appliances etc. -- exploding one after another. The shots are in such extreme slow motion that both the image frame and shutter are unsteady. One dreamy shot features what looks like hundreds of pieces of frozen food floating like feathers in a pillow fight. An entire frozen turkey sails by like a spaceship from 2001. Antonioni's message is clear: he'd clearly like to see America, or at least its consumer culture, blasted from the face of the Earth.

Zabriskie Point was harassed by the authorities during production based on rumors (?) of orgies in a National Park and the notion of a foreign radical promoting unrest on California's tense U.C. campuses. A general critical lambasting didn't help the $7 million dollar production find audiences, and it's been a cult item ever since. The legendary Italian filmmaker remained true to his vision of America as a spiritual wasteland ruled by soulless capitalists, but his superficial interpretation of youth in rebellion was rejected by almost everyone. Antonioni 's artistic reputation was unaffected.

Actors Daria Halprin and Mark Frechette became an item and lived for a time in a commune. She left for a marriage to actor Dennis Hopper, followed by a career as a psychologist. She eventually authored several books about the benefits of art and dance therapy. Mark Frechette participated in an impulsive bank robbery; his accomplice was killed. He died later in what was described by researcher Dave O'Brian as a bizarre accident in the recreation room of a Massachusetts prison. Frechette's quoted rationale for robbing the bank resembles something his angry Zabriskie Point character might say: "It would be like a direct attack on everything that is choking this country to death".

Warner Home Entertainment's DVD of Zabriskie Point is a bright and colorful enhanced transfer that replicates cameraman Alfio Contini's razor sharp, carefully composed images: nobody will complain about the way this disc looks. The Kaleidoscope, The Grateful Dead, Patti Page, The Youngbloods, John Fahey and Jerry Garcia join Pink Floyd on the soundtrack. The original trailer is a fatuous hoot that now plays like a parody of flower - power inanities. Don't forget: "How you get there / Depends on where you're at". (This and subequent quotes are from "The Sorry Life & Death of Mark Frechette", Dave O'Brian, Rolling Stone   Nov. 6, 1975).

For more information about Zabriskie Point, visit Warner Video. To order Zabriskie Point, go to TCM Shopping.

by Glenn Erickson

Zabriskie Point - Michelangelo Antonioni's ZABRISKIE POINT on DVD

Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 Blowup is an unprecedented American art house thriller that became a surprise mainstream success, grossing over six million dollars. That kind of business elevated the status of a number of European filmmakers, securing big co-production deals for, among others, Federico Fellini. For a brief time, being an Italian master of alienation amid bleak landscapes was a definite asset; if the result brought in audiences, MGM would let Michelangelo film whatever he wanted. Antonioni chose to film his next opus in the United States, at that time the focus of much intellectual and political criticism from the continent. Encouraged by the status conferred upon profitable pictures like Easy Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey, MGM green-lit Zabriskie Point, a counterculture saga about alienated youth and free love in an America seen as ripe for revolution. Zabriskie Point imposes a foreign artist's leftist political interpretations on a stylized American landscape. The beautiful but alienated leading actors are little more than placeholders for disaffected youth. Antonioni's aides reportedly found the male lead Mark Frechette standing on a Boston street corner shouting "motherf*cker". The quote offered by the promoters: "he's twenty and he hates".* The story of Zabriskie Point is a pretentious trifle. During a period of college unrest, student Mark (Mark Frechette) quits a Marxist planning session (dominated by political firebrand Kathleen Cleaver) and is arrested for hassling policemen booking student demonstrators. He and an associate buy a pair of handguns and return to campus. They may or may not be responsible for the shooting of a riot cop back on campus. The sequence is filmed in such a way that we can't tell who shoots whom. Mark makes his way to an airport, steals a single-engine airplane, and heads eastward to the desert. In a Wilshire Blvd. office building, free spirit Daria (Daria Halprin) meets executive Lee Allen, a land developer working on an Arizona resort for the wealthy. Daria apparently agrees to accompany Lee to his mountaintop desert house, but instead drives there on her own in a borrowed car. After meeting some grizzled oldsters in a desert café and tangling with some near-feral desert kids, Daria is spotted by Mark from the air. He buzzes her car several times before landing. They don't speak much. She drives him to fetch more aviation fuel, but they instead end up at Zabriskie Point, a scenic lookout at the far end of Death Valley. Their lovemaking in the alkali dust becomes a hallucinatory orgy, with scores of couples engaging in various sex acts all around them. Zabriskie Point's tagline is the now embarrassing "far out" phrase, "How you get there ... depends on where you're at". Antonioni is uninterested in fashioning an emotional reality for Mark and Daria, who are never more than what they are, two attractive kids going through the motions. The director's efforts are instead invested in the film's visual surface, as with his highly artificial, thematically interesting Red Desert. The dramatic scenes are flat and uninteresting; Rod Taylor and his developer cronies are mere stick figures against a sterile corporate backdrop. Antonioni has a field day making Los Angeles look like a portal to Hell lined with ugly billboards. Lee drives to offices that appear to be at the intersection of Wilshire and Western, somehow avoiding every view that doesn't feature advertising displays. Mark and his fellow triggerman live in a depressed neighborhood, and run red lights in an old pickup truck. Neither the real student demonstration footage nor the staged violence makes much of an impact. The rancor in the 'revolutionary strategy meeting' (scored with Pink Floyd's "Heartbeat Pigmeat") is 100% accurate to this reviewer's college experience, with furious, incoherent rhetoric thrown about by zealots incapable of listening to one another. Zabriskie Point finds its power out in the desert, which represents Antonioni's vision of America as a moral wasteland. Daria seems thrilled to be the object of Mark's foreplay, buzzing his stolen plane only a couple of feet above her head. The aerial work in the movie is technically perfect, creating a North by NorthWest "meeting cute" as the modern plane zooms over the prehistoric desert floor. Death Valley, the lowest point in the United States, is more than a little symbolic. The amorous hippies in the spaced-out mass sex scene staged there look like prehistoric animals spawning at the dawn of creation. The film was always "R" rated but more than one orgy cutaway strongly implies hardcore activity. As for Mark and Daria, they gambol nude in the dust but don't appear to be engaging in actual sex. When existential idyll is finished Antonioni hurries back to his main theme: America is Evil. The lovers paint psychedelic patterns on the stolen plane, which Mark flies to a fateful reunion with the "pigs" back in the smoggy city. Daria drives on to her Arizona rendezvous with Lee Allen, at a lavish designer house built into a rocky Arizona hillside, sort of a space age Navajo cliff dwelling. Daria tours the spotless interior, avoiding the soulless executives and their designer women. When she realizes what has happened to Mark, Daria and the movie indulge a subjective fantasy of destruction. To Pink Floyd's apocalyptic track "Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up", we watch for several minutes as the cliff house explodes into a million pieces, a staggering blast repeated from numerous angles and in slow motion. The screen then treats us to several minutes of decadent consumer goods -- furniture, kitchen appliances etc. -- exploding one after another. The shots are in such extreme slow motion that both the image frame and shutter are unsteady. One dreamy shot features what looks like hundreds of pieces of frozen food floating like feathers in a pillow fight. An entire frozen turkey sails by like a spaceship from 2001. Antonioni's message is clear: he'd clearly like to see America, or at least its consumer culture, blasted from the face of the Earth. Zabriskie Point was harassed by the authorities during production based on rumors (?) of orgies in a National Park and the notion of a foreign radical promoting unrest on California's tense U.C. campuses. A general critical lambasting didn't help the $7 million dollar production find audiences, and it's been a cult item ever since. The legendary Italian filmmaker remained true to his vision of America as a spiritual wasteland ruled by soulless capitalists, but his superficial interpretation of youth in rebellion was rejected by almost everyone. Antonioni 's artistic reputation was unaffected. Actors Daria Halprin and Mark Frechette became an item and lived for a time in a commune. She left for a marriage to actor Dennis Hopper, followed by a career as a psychologist. She eventually authored several books about the benefits of art and dance therapy. Mark Frechette participated in an impulsive bank robbery; his accomplice was killed. He died later in what was described by researcher Dave O'Brian as a bizarre accident in the recreation room of a Massachusetts prison. Frechette's quoted rationale for robbing the bank resembles something his angry Zabriskie Point character might say: "It would be like a direct attack on everything that is choking this country to death". Warner Home Entertainment's DVD of Zabriskie Point is a bright and colorful enhanced transfer that replicates cameraman Alfio Contini's razor sharp, carefully composed images: nobody will complain about the way this disc looks. The Kaleidoscope, The Grateful Dead, Patti Page, The Youngbloods, John Fahey and Jerry Garcia join Pink Floyd on the soundtrack. The original trailer is a fatuous hoot that now plays like a parody of flower - power inanities. Don't forget: "How you get there / Depends on where you're at". (This and subequent quotes are from "The Sorry Life & Death of Mark Frechette", Dave O'Brian, Rolling Stone   Nov. 6, 1975). For more information about Zabriskie Point, visit Warner Video. To order Zabriskie Point, go to TCM Shopping. by Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

'Ford, Harrison' fans know that his scenes were cut from this film. But he can still be seen; if you look real quick, in the jail scene, you will see him standing up against the back wall right by the door.

Michelangelo Antonioni's original ending was a shot of an airplane sky-writing the phrase "Fuck You, America," which was cut by MGM president Louis F. Polk along with numerous other scenes. Polk was eventually replaced by James T. Aubrey, who had most of the cut footage restored, but without this final shot.

Antonioni's leftist politics made the film a controversial project from the start. The production was harassed by groups opposed to the movie's alleged anti-Americanism, among other things. The FBI had agents shadow numerous cast and crew members; the sets were besieged by right-wingers (who had come to protest a scene of flag desecration that never even existed) and militant anti-establishment students (worried that they were somehow being "sold out"); the sheriff of Oakland, California charged that Antonioni provoked the riots he had come to film; Death Valley park rangers initially refused to allow Antonioni to shoot at Zabriskie Point because they thought he planned to stage an orgy at the site (which Antonioni had conceptualized but never seriously considered); and the U.S. Attorney's office in Sacramento opened grand jury investigations into both the film's "anti-Americanism" and possible violations of the Mann Act, a 1910 law prohibiting the transportation of women across state lines "for immoral conduct, prostitution or debauchery," during the Death Valley shooting. (The investigation ended when it was learned that Zabriskie Point was at least 13 miles west of the California-Nevada border.)

A piano piece composed by Richard Wright of Pink Floyd for the 'violent scene' went unused, but was later reworked by the band as "Us and Them" on their album "Dark Side of the Moon".

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Los Angeles, Death Valley, the Mojave Desert, and in Arizona. Participation of Trianon Productions is unconfirmed.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970

Released in United States February 1970

Released in United States 1995

Released in United States Winter January 1, 1970

Released in United States February 1970

Released in United States 1995 (Shown at AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival (The AFI Fest Movie Marathon-All Night: Left Wing versus Right Wing) October 19 - November 2, 1995.)